I skinned my first hog in 1996 and have wanted someone else to do it ever since. Until last month. This time I had a hog in the cooler and my friend Q had just dropped the first big game animal of his life on a hunt north of Sacramento.
Our guide, Mike Gardner, was content to watch while I gutted and skinned both hogs with a new knife system called the RaptoRazor. In fact, I couldn't wait to get started.
The RaptoRazor system includes two knives. The Big Game Skinner is hooked like a raptor's talon with both a curved gutting blade and a skinning blade on the obverse angle. Its companion, the MANO is useful for secondary cuts for both gutting and gutless field dressing.
Both knives come in one combination belt pouch, broken down for easy packing. To put the knives to work, the hunter must screw the handles together. Now the work begins. Differences from standard skinning knives are obvious. The gut hook operates through an angle 2-1/2 inches wide, while the skinning blade on the other edge is shaped like an Alaskan ulu. The one-piece blade is designed to be replaced. The 180-degreee offset handle allows a man-sized grip for pulling power while skinning is accomplished on a pull stroke.
The MANO also employs an offset handle with a short, broad blade useful for cutting out backstraps, separating muscle groups and other tasks inside the cavity. When the blades are dull, they are replaced with the Philips head screwdriver concealed in the handle.
My hog I gutted the night before, then we froze it solid in a cooler while our hunt continued. The second day, Q put his animal down. At the skinning pole, we hung both swine side by side, mine was frozen solid, which I figured would slow me down. It didn't.
In less than an hour, I had both hogs skinned and gutted and I used the same blades for both animals. Afterward, the blades went in the trash.
To me, this is a system that has earned a place in my backpack for any elk hunt, pig hunt or bear hunt.
Manufacturer Rick Grover said he has processed as many as five axis deer with the same blade. One hog is generally enough for one blade, although I skinned out two.
A series of videos on the web site show the knives at work in the field.